The author, a resident of Alaska for many years, makes the history of the fur bearing seal as fascinating, even exciting, as the fiction writer might do. Beginning with the first 17th century discovery and use of the seal by Russian, English and American mariners, she traces the bloody destruction of herds, the enslavement of the Aleut tribes, and the coming of John Jacob Astor's men, which inevitably followed. By the late 19th century, the white man had almost made the animal extinct. The author then shows how the works of one good man, Henry Wood Elliott, aroused Congress to what was happening, spurred stricter international laws which resulted only in fur piracy on the high seas, then prodded governments into real reforms to protect remaining herds. Much fascinating background on Northwestern and Alaskan history and development.